Book Review

Moon Reads: Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss (20th Anniversary Edition) by Ai Yazawa

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

Read before: Yes, just not this particular omnibus presentation

Ownership: Bought as a treat once I found it existed.

Spoiler free review: No

Series: Paradise Kiss, this edition contains the full series.

Content warnings: Nudity, mild violence, mild sadomasochism, sexuality/sex

Paradise Kiss was one of my first mangas I ever read and to this day I still love it. It is about a young student, Yukari, who is trying to find meaning in her life and is doing her best to fulfill expectations, until she accidentally gets “discovered” by a group of fashion design students who think shed make the perfect model for their final project.

The full story follows Yukari and George, alongside the rest of the atelier and Yukari’s own friends and family as she initially rejects the proposal to be a model and then realises that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. So she “joins” the atelier as their model and starts spending more and more time with them, which also means more time with George, with whom she establishes a relationship.

The manga is full of fashion desing, lots of amazing looks, a lot of relationships happening and things going on and it is just a delight to read, or at least it was to me. One thing ot mentionis that George has an interest in sadomasochism and can be manipulative nad abusive at times to Yukari, but it is part of the story that their relationships develops as it goes. There is also the relationship of the other atelier members and how they visualise George.

Overall, it has a special vibe and the young me that wanted to be a fashion designer loved it, plus it explores bisexuality, has a queer character and a lot of representation and alternative ways of life that show that it isnt all one way to make it and way to live. On top of that, the story doesn’t end when Yukari models for them, instead it suddenly opens a world of opportunities for her and a modelling career, so it is a good interesting show of what choices one can make and opportunities that we take or not.

I cannot recommend this enough as a manga to read, however, as per above I do highlight that it has some interesting topics and some content warnings that are there for a reason. This isn’t all honey and fashion and good vibes. It has a lot of tough topics and a lot of hard moments.

If manga isn’t your thing, you can always go the anime or live action way. I have watched the anime a few times but still haven’t the live action. It is good fun and only 12 episodes long. And overall, regardless of format, it is a well contained story that shows many sides of a coin and about making choices and taking opportunities.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: Daughter of Smoke and Bone Illumicrate Editions

Subscription box: Illumicrate Editions

Theme/Month: Special Edition for Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Ownership: Preordered the special edition box when it was available in the presale. If you are interested in purchasing an Illumicrate subscription, you can do it on their website.

I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone a long time ago and the whole trilogy was fun to read so when they announced a special edition box I decided to buy it and also the rest of the trilogy. But what was in the box? Starting on the bottom right and going clockwise:

  • A gorgeous booksleeve with a scene on one side and a quote on the other.
  • A gold foiled print with all the characters of the series.
  • A wishbone enamel pin (I am unsure about this trend of two part/chained enamel pins, why?)
  • The hardcover edition with blue sprayed edges, special reversible jacket (another thing I genuinely do not understand the hype for, I am not going to flip the cover around to see the reversible one, plus it’ll just damage it if I keep flipping one way or the other and it’s not like you can see the full picture if you have the book facing anyway unless you had it on a rotating platform) and signed.
  • A gorgeous book tin (also it is huge, you can almost fit the book inside it, I haven’t tried, an experiment for another time) with a “stained glass” feel to the artwork which is cool.
  • A soul thurible replica from the book, which is cool but sadly for me it is a dust catcher and nothing more? (I do like the idea of making a replica, it is cool but it just sits there, I can’t do much with it and I don’t think it is safe to burn incense in it anyway…)
  • My favourite item which was the mug, the artwork is stunning!
  • Angel and Demon bookends. I get the concept behind them the cool idea but they feel a bit flimsy (not due to material more on the design being so cut out and delicate, makes them easy to catch on things and not as durable as one would wish). 100% to the concpet, not so keen on final product.

Sadly, I was kinda expecting more and didn’t really click with the box as much as I have clicked with previous ones, which is sad because the items where awesome, just not for me. I am not one to go crazy about prints (I am bad at seeing the characters unless I am making fanart myself, and I struggle to remember names so it is a bit like “cool art but means very little to me unless I make a massive effort to remember everything”), however the book is cool and I like it is a tin, unsure about the size of it but otherwise really cool and I am always happy for a good mug.

My takeaway is that I need to be more conscious of the special editions I chose as in the end the items may not be my cup of tea and I have to make sure it is worth it for me. If I displayed prints and decorative items on my shelves I probably would’ve totally loved this box.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue Owlcrate

Because I generally enjoy V. E. Schwabs books, I decided to buy Owlcrates special edition box. Sadly, I was not blown away by the book, but that is more on the book and contents than on the box and contents. So lets put aside the fact the book was underwhelming and go for the box contents which were not. Starting with the book since it is the main piece:

  • The exclusive edition of the book, it has a quote and design on the back of the book in rose gold. And the cover is subtle but nice.
  • The Darkness candle, meant to be about the gods that come after dark smells delicious!
  • A pin, since Owlcrate usually sends a pin and has a lot of gorgeous detail.
  • A wooden book holder, it is meant to help you hold your book one-handed and read through the page, and as much as they do their job I tend to read fast and it becomes more of a nuisance to move the holder around than to figure out a way without it. Still, this one is very beautiful and detailed.
  • A perpetual calendar, like a reminder of time passing for Addie, it is again in rose gold and I actually like the design a lot. My only dislike is that it is rose gold and that the quote disappears once you actually put the date up, so I would’ve preferred if it was at the back or something.
  • A gorgeous flask to keep your drink warm, which is very welcome since I had to throw out one that was too damaged recently, so this is perfect timing for this one. Subtle and gorgeous.
  • A three year journal, very very beautiful and felt like the right type of item to have in the box.

Overall I really liked the contents since they tie well with the book, which is nice to see. I am not keen on rose gold at all which puts me off a few items, it is like cheap gold, and even then I am not fond of gold so rose gold is a bit meh to me. The perpetual calendar was a cool idea as is the journal, and the items are all useful so it was nice to have the box come through and feel like it was well done. Still, it probably wasnt worth the shipping and potential custom charges for it, so I will know better next time a very special edition comes through to think very carefully about it before purchasing. If I was located in the US then it wouldn’t be such an issue.

Subscription Boxes

Moon Hauls: A Darker Shade of Magic Illumicrate Collections

Any Illumicrate Collections box tends to be really good, so when they announced A Darker Shade of Magic being a box, I jumped at it and got it. And of course, as per usual, it was packed full of goodies (so much I struggled to fit it all on my usual table), so let’s see what it had starting at the bottom right and going clockwise:

  • Contents booklet, mostly it lists what each item is and who the artist/companies behind it are.
  • Underneath most of the goodies is a Four Londons blanket by Yoshi Yoshitani, which I like a lot (usually the blankets are gorgeous)
  • Then we have a booksleeve inspired by Lila’s and Kell “dance”, it’s a good size and slightly plastified so really nice. The artwork is by Laia Lopez and the quote typography design on the other side is by Chatty Nora.
  • Essen Tasch hanging poster, this makes me feel like I’ve been to it and got a memento poster to hang on my wall. Normally I am not crazy about posters but I somehow really like this one. Design by Sylvia Bi
  • On top are some acrylic figures of the characters and one of the author too, which I thought was a cute idea and they’ll look good on a shelf to decorate. Design by Monolime
  • There was also a set of dust jackets for all three books if you’re not that into the naked look. Those were hard to display as they had come rolled in to be protected but difficult to quickly lay flat (they’ll be flat after a few days under some books). Artwork by Rosie Thorns.
  • A pin of Lila’s mask designed by Stacey McEvoy-Caunt.
  • In the middle is a microfibre cloth to clean glasses and gadgets with a design by Victoria Ying.
  • And finally the hardcover book with a foiled naked cover, silver sprayed edges and front endpapers with artwork by Em Allen. It is gorgeous, honestly!

All in all it was a great box, the item I will probably love the least is the dust jackets because I am not normally fond of them in books and prefer naked covers. But they are still gorgeous. And of course all the contents are so well tailored for the trilogy that it is like magic!

Books, Subscription Boxes

Blood & Blades Illumicrate Unboxing

My very first Illumicrate box included this hardcover book with a crow and a red sun on the cover (sound familiar?). So it wasn’t any surprise that when they announced they w0uld be doing a special edition for Darkdawn, I had to have it (plus they special editions boxes are stunning!).

My very first Illumicrate. I had zero clue on how to do unboxing pictures.

As you can see above, Nevernight wan’t the only book and it didn’t have an author letter like The Graces did. Nevernight was the “afterthought”, the second book, rather than the main one. Back then the boxes weren’t themed either and it was way more of a surprise what you could get…

But back to the main thing, the Darkdawn box. Because we’ve come to the end of the trilogy.

Look at that, I have a slightly better idea what I am doing with an unboxing, and this time the blanket underneath is not one I made myself, but part of the box. Oh how time goes by! Let’s unbox this, starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Underneath everything, a Mr Kindly and Eclipse blanket. It is the softest thing ever and I love it!
  • Nevernight Short-Form Series Extras, a kind of script and sneak peek book for what Piera Forde has been doing on trying to adapt it to “film”.
  • A wooden map of Itreya. I don’t know what I will use it for, but I really like it.
  • Mr Kindly bath bomb by Geeky Clean. This smells gorgeous and I am looking forward to using it in my bath.
  • Contents zine.
  • A gorgeous mug called “Goodnight Kiss”, but spoilers, so yeah…
  • Darkdawn book, with yellow edges (like the Italian edition if I got it right). (Sadly I prefer the dark edges, but I think part of it is I am not a fan of yellow).
  • On top of it, a Mia magnetic coin.
  • A print of Mia and Trik (same artwork as the script thing extra stuff)
  • Three, the extra content/deleted scene.
  • Character bookmarks that are double sided.
  • Foil (it is super extra stunning) Hard at work print of Mia.
  • A gorgeous book sleeve with two different sides, A Story to Tell.
  • Mia “Funko Pop” style figurine.
  • Two amazing pins by Fable and Black. I was blown away by them!
  • Finally, close to the mug, the Corvere crest as a necklace.

All in all, a very full box with lots of stunning items! Illumicrate did an amazing job and I am glad I bought that first box with Nevernight way back when (I have been subscribed to them since then…)

Subscription Boxes

Holidays at Hogsmeade Village Unboxing

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This was a special edition box by SpearCraft Book Box, and it was without a book. I have to be honest, I had forgotten I had ordered it until the email arrived into my inbox saying I had a box coming my way and it had been paid. Then I checked and it was this (comes to show I ordered too many sub boxes last year, right?). It arrived a bit after Christmas so I didn’t take pictures of it in the theme appropriate jigsaw (because I had already packed it by the time this arrived…)

But now let’s check the contents, starting on the top right corner and going clockwise:

  • Honeydukes cupcake bath bomb. It said “Do not eat” and it does look cute, the scent is meant to be Amortentia potion. It is a pleasant smell.
  • Three Broomsticks bookmark, the artwork is cute, and as per usual, bookmarks are one of the least offending paper items I get, so this was okay.
  • Dobby socks, remember how I said I liked the better quality socks I had been getting? Well, sadly this pair isn’t that high quality even if they are cute. (Yes, I may be picky, but I get too many boxes and need to choose better which ones are worth paying for and getting, the ones that make me happy).
  • Theme card, which is a really cute print too.
  • Hogs Head Inn cushion cover, this is nice and all, it made me smile and I like the look of it, does make me think of a pub sign however, it is not the kind of thing I would keep as we don’t have that many cushions and I already have a few covers to change them.
  • Zonko’s frog spawn soap, happy about this one because I like soaps and this made me smile a lot.
  • Bertie Botts jelly beans, the original ones, which is what I assume was one of the “expensive” items. They’re interesting but I have to admit I tried them and prefer “muggle” jelly beans more.
  • Zonko’s art print.
  • Tea from Madam Puddifoots Tea Shop. Haven’t tried it yet, but yeah I do tea and this looks interesting as it is meant to be chocolate frog mint flavour.

So, the verdict? I prefer Accio boxes if it is something Harry Potter themed. However, this was cute and it was a cosy one but it wasn’t worth it for me as it got hit by customs too, making it too expensive to get to this side of the pond.

 

 

Subscription Boxes

Dreams & Nightmares Litjoy Crate Unboxing

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Look at this gorgeous box! I couldn’t resist getting Litjoy’s special edition crate for Muse of Nightmares. I already had the gorgeous Fairyloot edition of Strange the Dreamer, so I wanted a nice edition to match, and this one is definitely gorgeous.

The box was full of purple delightful things as you can see below.

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Starting on the book and going round clockwise:

  • Muse of Nightmares, it came with an auhtor letter and signed. And this is the American edition (I have UK edition for Strange, but somehow find this one matches beautifully the blue).
  • A gorgeous quilted booksleeve with a button (I liked that detail and the print of the fabric).
  • Lull Tea.
  • Shiny charm bracelet wiht a purple moth. <3
  • Logo pin which is also delightful and very detailed.
  • A hardbacked journal with a dreamy scene. It has a ribbon bookmark and elastic band.
  • Mug cake, old fashioned one (I have yet to try it, but looks intriguing).
  • Goddess of Dreams fabric/linen spray.
  • Trading cards.
  • MY favourite item, a gorgeous potion bottle with a candle inside.
  • And of course the theme and contents booklet.

It was a very purple edition and I was extremely pleased by it.

Books, Subscription Boxes

Magic and Mayhem Illumicrate Special Edition

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Look at that, you get a massive outside the puzzle picture, because this box was jampacked with delightful V.E. Schwab themed things and I was running out of table to showcase them!

Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Double sided tote bag by Rowa Tree. It is a very sturdy bag and it is grey, so happy me.
  • An enamel mug by Temporary Places (I have a love/hate relationship with enamel mugs. They’re good for camping, but they can burn your hands easily as they get quite hot).
  • A pouch (decent size) with one of my favourite quotes from VE. Schwab, by Stella Bookish Art.
  • Tarot style cards by Lorena Lammer (They made me think a lot of Mucha style).
  • Vengeful special edition. It is very similar to the original but in red. There was also a letter from Victoria herself.
  • Four Londons scarf (it is quite thick and I am looking forward to wearing it) by Fable & Black
  • Character bookmarks by Merwild.
  • Villains inspired pin by Fable & Black.
  • Lila and Kell at the ball by Victoria Ying.
  • Illumicrate Victor Vale style book sleeve, which made me very happy to see in the box (and that the book was inside).
  • Four Londons postcards by Moledro Craft Co.
  • Four Londons candle (I squealed when I say that it was layered) by Amelia’s Kitchen Candles.
  • As Tascen water bottle by Crini.
  • As Travars keyring (absolutely made my day and made me smile also by Fable & Black.

I’ve seen other special edition boxes in general but this felt absolutely perfect to me, and it was amazing.